Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Hare's Ear Nymph
The Hare's Ear Nymph, and more recently the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear nymph, is a classic trout fly.
The newest version is the Bead Head Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph. This fly has stood the test of
time and in still in use today although it has been around since the 1880's. It may well be the oldest
fly known to man. The reason why is simple. It catches trout. Some think it originated as a wet fly
and in the sense it isn't a dry fly, I guess that's true. It may well be the top selling nymph in the
World but that is mostly because the major fly distributors have few specific imitations of nymphs,
mayflies or stoneflies. It is sold by just about every mom and pop fly shop in the World as well as
the big stores that sell fly fishing flies.
A Victorian tier named James Ogden is often given credit for it. It's also thought that a Mr.
Frederick Halford made a version that was at one time used as a dry fly in the late 1880's
The Hare’s Ear doesn't imitate any particular nymph. It gives trout the impression that it is a nymph
and that's about it. Even though trout can see flies under the water better than they can those on
the surface, it still usually works as long as the water is moving relatively fast. It is buggy and
shaggy and this gives it some movement which makes it appear to be alive.
The bead head version gives an added flash but we don't think that's very helpful in many cases
as such. Its value has more to do with helping anglers keep the fly down near or on the bottom
than anything. It works great on stocked trout.
The fly imitates a variety of smaller nymphs that are found in rivers and lakes. It is used mostly for
trout, but works well on panfish and other species of fish that eat mayfly and stonefly nymphs. It is
a generic fly pattern that does a good job of fooling trout into thinking it is the real thing. As
mentioned above, from an impressionistic standpoint, the shaggy appearance of the fly resembles
a lot of different species of mayfly nymphs and does an okay job of imitating stonefly nymphs.
The Gold Ribbed Hares Ear Nymph trout fly can be without any added weight in shallow water but
normally needs some added weight. It can be greased up and used to imitate emerging nymphs.
Some anglers fish it under a dry fly on a dropper rig and some use a strike indicator. We think it is
best fished by itself but we do admit this requires a lot more concentration than using a dropper or
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Bead Hare's Ear and
Bead Head Gold Ribbed
Hare's Ear Nymphs